Ceremony of the
NATO Medal
George A.

26th June 1997


by the Secretary General

(14 Kb)
Excellencies, General Joulwan,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The citation that we have just heard describes but a few of General Joulwan's remarkable achievements as SACEUR. To list all of them would require far more time than we have here today. Let me just say a few words, however, on behalf of the Council, about how much we appreciate all General Joulwan has done for the Alliance, for Europe and the entire transatlantic area.

General Joulwan has served as Supreme Allied commander during a momentous period in NATO's history, one of great opportunity but also great risk: only a short while ago NATO's purpose and relevance in post-cold war Europe was being questioned. War was still ravaging Bosnia and threatening to spill over into neighboring countries. NATO, in particular its Supreme Allied Commander, answered these challenges.

(16 Kb)

Today, less than two weeks away from the Madrid Summit, few are questioning the vital role of NATO in the new Europe. NATO has made tremendous progress adapting itself to the new challenges, roles and missions envisaged at the 1990, 1991 and 1994 NATO Summits. General Joulwan has been a driving force behind this progress, by translating the ideas set forth by Heads of State and Government at London, Rome and Brussels into action.

Indeed, in the history of the Alliance, few commanders could rival General Joulwan's record of achievement in transforming words into deeds. Partnership for Peace and the NATO-led multinational force in Bosnia testify to SACEUR's innovation, leadership, and perseverance. In 1994 PfP was a mere concept. Three years later, thanks in large part to SACEUR, PfP is a cornerstone of European security. Under SACEUR's military leadership, PfP has made possible unprecedented cooperation between allies and non-NATO partners in Bosnia.

As overall operational commander of IFOR and now SFOR, General Joulwan has ensured that the diverse collection of troop contributors functioned as an effective coalition for peace. Thanks to General Joulwan and the men and women under his leadership, the war in Bosnia has stopped, and the people of that troubled region have a real hope for peace.

(14 Kb)
I have travelled to Bosnia many times with General Joulwan and I have been impressed each time not only by the efficiency and breadth of his operations, but also by his genuine concern for the soldiers of IFOR and SFOR. Here in Brussels it is easy to lose sight of the hardship and sacrifice we demand of the soldiers we have sent to implement Peace in Bosnia. Many have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the course of carrying out our political guidance. General Joulwan, to his great credit, has not let us forget the human dimension of an OPLAN or Rules of Engagement.

The fact that we have suffered relatively few casualties is a reflection of SACEUR's skill as a commander and his commitment to the well-being of the troops. In this and all other respects of the mission he has always provided Council with clear and candid advice, and he has demanded "clarity" from us as well.

George, let me be very clear: you have been an outstanding Supreme Allied Commander and a wonderful friend. You will be sorely missed. But your contributions to peace in Bosnia, the Partnership for Peace and the adaptations of the Alliance to new roles and missions will be enduring legacies. The Alliance and Europe -- its current and future generations -- owe you a great debt of gratitude. Thank you, George. And thank you Karen, Chris and Michael for joining us today and for all your support for George. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

 [ Go to Speeches Menu ]  [ Go to Homepage ]